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NC State Garners AAAS Award

University lauded for commitment to excellence in STEMM fields

Fireworks explode over the NC State belltower to close down Packapalooza 2022.

North Carolina State University is one of three institutions to receive the 2024 SEA Change Institutional Bronze Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The award was presented to NC State, the University of California, San Diego, and the University of California, Santa Cruz at the AAAS Annual Meeting in February to honor their commitment to excellence in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) by supporting success for all.

The SEA Change initiative offers a framework and community for colleges and universities as they undertake a rigorous, data-informed self-assessment and action-planning process to identify and begin to demolish barriers to opportunity and excellence in STEMM. Award applications are peer-reviewed by a panel of experts in STEMM higher education and accessibility.

“AAAS SEA Change is proud to recognize the three 2024 Institutional Bronze Awardees,” said Shirley Malcom, founding director of SEA Change and a senior advisor at AAAS. “This year’s class showcases the robust ways the SEA Change framework can be used to pursue goals that emerge from institutional missions. NC State, UC San Diego, and UC Santa Cruz demonstrate the creativity that has been applied while addressing challenges to success in STEMM for all.”

NC State was specifically recognized for developing an action plan that is forward-thinking, strategically aligned with its institutional mission and designed within the unique parameters determined by state laws, according to AAAS.

“We’re proud that the Sea Change Institutional Bronze Award recognizes NC State’s efforts to make STEMM fields more accessible and inclusive, which is a key component of Goal 4 of the university’s strategic plan,” said Sheri Schwab, vice provost for institutional equity and diversity. “As a land-grant university and leading STEMM institution, NC State exists to transform lives and better the world, and it’s imperative that our university reflects the diversity of the communities it was built to serve.”

Institutional Bronze Award winners must have completed the self-assessment of their institution’s policies, procedures, and climate, demonstrate a deep understanding of the underlying issues contributing to the challenges they face, and create an action plan to address those challenges.

The 2024 Awardees bring the total number of institutions holding a SEA Change Institutional Bronze Award to seven. Other awardees include the University of California, Davis; Arizona State University; the University of California, Irvine; and the University of Florida.

The initiative also includes the SEA Change Institute – a library of courses related to institutional capacity-building for barrier removal and excellence – and the SEA Change Community. The community is publicly accessible but also offers additional opportunities for connections among the 27 SEA Change member institutions.

SEA Change includes accountability mechanisms and encourages participants to measure progress. An institution holds a Bronze Award for five years, after which they apply either for a renewal of their award or for the next award progression. AAAS also offers silver- and gold-level awards: Silver Awards honor continued self-assessment and demonstrated achievements in the institution’s own action plan, while Gold Awards recognize institutions that have carried out major transformations and shared their own efforts with others.

More information on SEA Change and its awards is available.